Can You Hear Me Now?

The youth minister at our parish honored my eldest daughter by submitting her name as the youth delegate to the 214th Annual Diocesan Council. She had a full voice and vote at Council which met last weekend. There was much controversy at Council this year. The controversy that has been raging in the Episcopal church since 2003 revolves around openly gay ordained ministers.

To recap: The Diocese of New Hampshire elected Gene Robinson as bishop in 2003. Robinson is a divorced man currently living with his life partner. The shock waves are causing court cases around the country as parishes align themselves with the Diocese of Nigeria rather than their geographical diocese if their bishop is sympathetic to Bishop Robinson. Some are aligning with the Diocese of Uganda. Now remember, the Dioceses of Nigeria and Uganda support the criminalization of homosexuality and the imprisonment of gays.

The first vote my daughter cast as a delegate was on the issue of whether to remain in the Worldwide Anglican Communion. Her reasoning on voting in favor of it? We're a big family; we may not like how the other members of the family conduct themselves; but sitting around the dining room table, we can at least have the appearance of tolerating each other. Pretty level-headed thoughts for a high school student.

From there the votes ventured into the realm of accepting open gays and lesbians into the church, allowing open gays and lesbians to serve as clergy, allowing priests to bless unions, allowing priests to bless same-sex marriages, and allowing priest to perform same-sex marriages. With the more conservative parishes not participating in the Diocese currently, the votes tended toward the more progressive side. Not every resolution carried. In fact, only the first two carried.

My teenage daughter, who has several gay and lesbian friends, voted her conscience. She wasn't a rubber stamp for my views, or her father's, or our rector's, or even the youth minister who nominated her. She knows that youth can have a say in the way things are and the way things will become. And, to her, the way things ought to be.


And You Think You're Cold?

Show of hands. How many of y'all suffered through the latest snow and ice storm? Okay, hands down. How many of you know about the possible major storm due next week? My local weatherman claims it all depends on where the eastern edge of the front comes through as to whether it's all lake effect snow in the Midwest or a blanketing of the eastern seaboard.

As much as we like to bitch and moan about the weather, it's nothing compared to what many of our ancestors lived through before emigrating to America.

Two lines of my family tree saw much hardship in Europe. First, they had to leave their French homeland because of religious persecution. They were Huguenots. During the Wars of Religion, one branch escaped to Holland, the other to Switzerland. After a few generations in their adopted countries, the Swiss family moved on to northern Germany. The year before my seventh great-grandfather married my seventh great-grandmother Europe experienced the worst winter in recorded history.

The winter of 1708-1709 saw temperatures in Europe drop by an unprecedented four degrees Celsius. Today’s average January temperature in Munich is -2 degrees Celsius (28 F). A four degree Celsius drop would be -6 Celsius (20 F). In the winter of 1708-1709, Europe was in the middle of a very cold spell. According to many scientists, the temperatures likely averaged about -12 Celsius (10 F) and perhaps lower. The daily highs would be well below freezing for many, many days.

So, the next time you start grumbling about having to shovel the snow, salt the sidewalks, or score the ice just remember your forefathers and mothers and what they had to endure.


Hustle and Snow

Did you hear President Obama yesterday complaining that his daughters’ school was closed because of the snow and ice in DC? And that in Chicago the schools hardly ever closed for snow? And that the kids would still go outside for recess in the snow?

I grew up in the Deep South where a single snowflake would cause a run on milk, bread, and toilet paper. But I have to agree with the President about this school closure thing. My kids’ schools were closed yesterday. My husband decided to leave the 4X4 SUV with me. Being a thoughtful wife who really didn’t want to be home alone with kids on an ice day, I drove him to his office.

The roads were wet for the most part. Some of the side roads were still icy or slushy depending on how much traffic they’d already seen. The real obstacle was the pedestrians (again with a blog about pedestrians?) walking in the streets. Why were they walking in the streets? Because hardly anyone had shoveled or scraped their sidewalks.

If people would take the time to clear their sidewalks, pedestrians could walk safely on the sidewalks and cars could drive more safely on the streets. Then, perhaps, schools would have been able to have only a two-hour delay rather than a snow (and ice) day.

Oh, by the way, the President’s girls go to a private school in Washington. DC public schools opened two-hours late yesterday.


Back to Black

Who’s at fault if a vehicle hits a pedestrian if it’s dark-thirty and the pedestrian is wearing black? While taking a friend home last night, I stopped at an intersection. The powers-that-be of my town have made it downright impossible to see oncoming cross traffic unless you pull across the pedestrian crosswalk and nose your way out past the line of parked cars at the curb. As I started forward across the crosswalk, my friend yelled at me to stop. I looked around and didn’t see anything. But then I saw this man, standing in the crosswalk near the driver's side front bumper, giving me a what-the-f*ck look. He was wearing a black topcoat, black pants, and carrying a black briefcase. As he walked away shaking his head and looking back disapprovingly over his shoulder, I muttered under my breath, “Well, if you weren’t wearing black, people could see you better.”

Heed my warning! Don’t wear black if you know you’re going to be out after dark. If you are wearing black after dark, don’t assume that people can see you even if you’re just a few feet away.


St. Vincent Midaze

My eldest child seems to think that she can stay up until midnight doing homework, get up the next day at 6:30 to get ready for school and still be able to function during the day without her work suffering or herself crashing. At breakfast this morning, we were having oatmeal since the forecast called for snow and the children needed something that would stick to their ribs. Our family doctors up the oatmeal with a pat of butter, a short handful of raisins, and a sprinkling of brown sugar.

Being the last one to table this morning, she tried to open the plastic liner bag of brown sugar. She was complaining that the bag hadn’t been opened and was about to rip the end seam out of the bag when my husband took the bag from her, flipped it around, and showed her the opened end that everyone had used.

“I think you’re sleep deprived,” he said as my brunette child had a quizzical blonde-headed look on her face.

Her current creed is:

My candle burns at both ends

It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay


Simon But Deadly

What hath American Idol wrought? It seems that everywhere you turn on television these days that you’re confronted with yet another installment of reality TV. You’ve got a number of people thrown together for a certain amount of time with certain members voted out and finally a winner proclaimed. And I’m not talking about Big Brother or Survivor. I’m talking about Miss America.

Haven’t you heard? The pageant organizers decided to jazz it up to attract more viewers. So they turned it into a reality show-type pageant. Now instead of an intense week-long pageant (including the time for judges’ interviews, practice sessions to learn the various marks on stage, and preliminaries) with only the final night of competition broadcast to the world, the TLC channel has a month-long pageant to broadcast. And with viewer participation to boot. Every bit of the pageant is now out there for the world to see.

Watching the competition of the women behind the scenes is akin to a man watching his wife/girlfriend put on makeup before a big night out. Some men might find it sexy, but it takes the allure and mystery out of the process. It’s almost like leaving the bathroom door open when you’re doing your business. Do we really need that much familiarity?

It really knocks Miss America off her pedestal. Some Miss America’s through the years have been knocked off that pedestal, either by their own doing or by others exploiting their earlier doings. Why don’t we leave her on her pedestal? In a world beaten up with financial crises, we need some beauty, some allure, some mystery as an escape from the harsh realities of the world. We don’t need to bring Miss America down to Simon Cowell’s callous reality-TV level. We need more of the old Miss America, more of the old Disney Prince Charming, more aspiration that there is something good, and pure, and beautiful still left in this world.


Thank You for Bacon a Friend

Older Southern women keep theirs next to the stove. Younger Southern women keep theirs in the fridge. Other women wouldn’t know what to do with theirs. Of what do I speak?

Bacon grease, of course. You know, that hot liquid that you drain off your bacon. My goes straight into an old coffee can. But, then I put it in the refrigerator. My grandmother and her generation of Southern cooks kept it handy, right by the stove, so that when something needed a little extra flavor, it was within arm’s reach. These days, I don’t use bacon grease to cook as much as my cooking forebears did. I tend to use it only when I’m frying chicken. How else are you going to get that crispy outside and juicy inside?

My can is a well-kept secret. Most of my granola-crunchy neighbors would look askance at me if they knew that we eat bacon, much less cook with its drippings. Some of them might go so far as to contact Child Protective Services for endangering the health of a child by feeding them anything that is cooked with my beloved bacon grease. What they don’t understand is why my fried chicken seems to be eaten first at potlucks.

I’m not planning on telling them my hush-hush ingredient. Let’s just keep it our little secret between friends.


Mea Culpa of Joe

I gave up caffeine almost 14 years ago. But in the rush of the holiday season, I ended up buying two pounds of regular coffee because it was such a good sale and we were out of coffee. Over the holidays I completely forgot that it was caffeinated. Until I tried to figure out why my sleep pattern is so out of whack.

I thought it might still be from the family emergency back in November. But that doesn’t make sense since other things are moving back to some semblance of normalcy.

After much thought and discussion, I reasoned it had to be the coffee which I began drinking at some point over the holidays, not remembering that it wasn’t my preferred decaf.

Now I’m suffering withdrawal. The last time I quit caffeine cold-turkey, I gained all kinds of weight from water retention. Caffeine is a diuretic, after all.

This time, I wake up with headaches and get all antsy by mid-morning. I’m still wide-awake at 11:00 p.m. instead of dozing off like I used to. I’m not quite sure if the siesta that I want to take in the early afternoon is due to my food-induced coma or to my caffeine withdrawal.

Either way, I should step away from the computer after lunch. Or else, make a habit of checking the deleted file for anything that inadvertently ends up in there thanks to my water-plumped, dead-weight fingers resting on the keyboard while I rest my eyes.


In Loo of Reading

For a while, I was taking a book to the gym to read while I was on the aerobic-type machines exercising away. I finished a 600-plus page piece of 19th Century Russian literature partly while on the treadmill. But after seeing an article that said reading while exercising lessens your exercise session's intensity, I tossed the book for the iPod.

For a while, my reading was limited to waiting time. You know, waiting on line at the DMV, waiting at the doctor's office, waiting for your kid to lumber out of school to the car for carpooling to the after-school activities. Now, my waiting time is filled with knitting rather than reading.

I need to get back to my book. It's a good book. I'm keeping in the theme of 19th Century Russian lit but opting for a shorter tome this go-'round. I hate to do it, but I just might have to move my book to the ladies' room.


Hats So Good

Did you see any of the Presidential Inauguration ceremony yesterday? Did you notice the latest sartorial trend?

Yes indeedy, the hat is making a comeback. And I'm not talking baseball caps either. My disdain baseball caps is a blog for another day. I'm talking felted wool fedoras.

Recently, the only men who wore hats were older men from the Greatest Generation or Indiana Jones-types. But, I must admit. My husband has two fedoras for winter days, a brown for casual wear and a black for dress wear. My father (actually of the Greatest Generation himself) always wore hats no matter the season and had more than a dozen of all different styles. So I'm partial to a man in a hat.

The President and Vice President chose not to wear hats. But behind them, off to the side of them, and down below them stood men who know how to dress for the occasion and the weather. And not just men of color either. Caucasian men who, unless gay or married to a women with enough feist to get her man to wear one, usually don't dress to impress anyone, let alone dress with a forethought of the goings-on of the day.

Now, if only we white women would follow the lead of those stylish African-American women and learn how to wear hats of our own again, then I could really say to all the men in America who have taken up the newest oldest trend, My hat's off to you!


Unreported History

[Editor's note: Titles typed as written based on time of writing.] The media has focused so much attention on President-Elect Obama's being the first biracial president. But the media seems to have overlooked the fact that he will be one of the youngest presidents in the history of our great nation. Here is the list of presidents by age at inauguration:

Theodore Roosevelt - 42
John F. Kennedy - 43
Bill Clinton - 46
Ulysses S. Grant - 46
Barack Obama - 47

Huh? Fifth youngest man ever inaugurated president. How many of you are now older than the soon-to-be President?


These Colors Don't Run

Well, that's me in a nylon nutshell. If you've ever wondered about what makes me who I am, take a look at my heritage. These are all my known ancestral lines. See anything familiar? Need explanations?

Stay tuned. I'm always trying to find more ancestors to add.



It’s that season again. Hollywood rolls out the red carpets. Limo drivers spiff up their stretches. Stylists coif and dress the Swells.

It will be very interesting to watch the round of award ceremonies this year. Why this year more than any other? Because, as many Americans are tightening their belts and cutting back on luxuries like dinners out, starlets don’t seem to be affected in the least.

The red-carpet gauntlet at the Golden Globes was awash in sequins, and tulle, and lace. And baubles. While some writing-heads on “news” blogs remarked about Hollywood getting the memo to tone down the bling, there were still enough precious and semi-precious stones draping décolletés to make Mr. Arpels blush.

Escapism is one of the few things that bad economies are good at, along with alcohol consumption. Conceivably, the awards shows, and the Inauguration and its ubiquitous balls, offer us a glimpse of what was once and what may well be again. Somehow. Some day.


It's the Economy, Stupid

Am I channeling Bill Clinton circa-1992? It seems that way. In the past two days, I have filed paperwork with the local Girl Scout council for grants for four people to attend trips with my Girl Scout troop. Three of the grants were for girls; the fourth was for my co-leader.

The stories are all the same, and exceedingly sad. In one family, the father is deceased and the mother hasn’t worked in months. In another family, the mother was the breadwinner of the family and the father is a freelance photographer. The mother was laid off several months ago, and lost health insurance for the family in the process. The father hasn’t sold any pictures in a while. In another family, the father isn’t an American citizen and is having problems finding work. After losing a bookkeeping job, the mother works three jobs to make ends meet, including one job as a waitress.

All of the families in my Girl Scout troop are/were comfortably middle class. All of the families live in comfortable middle class neighborhoods. All of the daughters participate in after-school sports and/or music programs. What makes them any different from any of us? Some call it luck. Some call it providence.

There, but for the grace of God, go I. Or my neighbor. Or your brother. Or you?


And Now for Something Completely Different...

Re: The sitting shiva blog - I originally wrote it on my Word program, where I keep blog ideas and the such. Therefore, it wasn't automatically saved by Blogger. In place of it, I give you an email that is making the rounds, this one courtesy of a SAHM e-group. Anyone out there not know what SAHM stands for?

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be along time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

-Author Unknown

Remember. Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron ..... but Love !!

F-Word My Computer (Skills)

Pissed! That's the only word to describe it. I took almost an hour to create a beautiful blog about sitting shiva at a neighbor's house last night. And what happens? I'm rushing to try to save it and get something else done in the process and Wham-O! I hit the G-D NO button instead of YES to save it!

As much as I want to blame my laptop, this was a case of human error.

After I've fulfilled my daily obligations, maybe the creative juices will be back.


I Brraake vor Blahd

Every couple of weeks I donate platelets at the Red Cross. If you don’t know anything about platelet donations, it takes about three hours to give platelets. Your whole blood is collected by needle, sent through a centrifuge which separates the platelets from the other blood components, and then the remaining blood components are returned to you by needle. I have to use a one-arm apheresis machine, meaning that the blood goes out and comes back through the same needle. It’s a big mother of a needle.

Since the process takes quite a bit longer than a regular whole blood donation, donors get to stretch out in these comfy table/loungers and watch a movie on a private screen with earphones. Because my blood pressure is normally low, I need a heating pad under me and two or three blankets on top to keep my temperature up so that the machine doesn’t think I’m in distress. Imagine having to lie down all warm and cozy with a movie for a couple of hours! Forced relaxation, ahhhh.

The Red Cross called me a few days ago to ask that I come in for a donation because I’m a match for someone. I’ve been a match in the past, most recently for a young cancer patient named Abigail. Platelets are used for premies, burn victims, trauma victims, organ donation patients, and cancer patients mostly.

Yesterday, I was all set for my early morning appointment with a needle and a movie. On the way to the donor center, I noticed that the brakes on the car didn’t seem to be functioning properly.

Is it me? Did I do something wrong?

Maybe it’s not me. That feels like I don’t have any brakes.

Uh-oh! I don’t have brakes! Now what?

Call the husband to come trade cars with me and drive mine back to the house. Drive him into his office. Then call the Red Cross to tell them that I won’t make it for my scheduled appointment and, since yesterday was their early-close day, I’d have to reschedule for another day. Try explaining to whomever was supposed to get my platelets that they won’t get the best-matched platelets because of faulty brakes. They’ll have to settle for no-so-well-matched platelets from someone else. Boy, I feel like I really let someone down.


I'll Take Farm Animals for a Thousand

Having a sick child stay home from school is getting harder and harder the older they get. Usually I have lunch either with friends or with the newspaper. I don’t have lunch with just my youngest child and me very often at all. But it happened yesterday when a nasty head cold made the thought of going to school miserable.

As we sat down to a salad (moi) and Spaghetti-O’s (her), the questions began.

“Do you know what a dog does when it goes like this?” She proceeds to pant with her tongue hanging out.

When I knew the answer, she upped the ante with, “Do you know what a horse can’t do?”

Talk, was the first thing that ran through my smart-assed brain. But I restrained myself and said, “No, tell me.”

“A horse can’t vomit.” She then told me in great detail about a horse’s digestive tract.

We talked about other things for a while as we finished up our lunches. Then she looked at me and asked, “Can chickens burp?”

I’ll be so glad when she’s well enough to go back to school.


Shunning of the Bulls

Recently, a friend passed along a hilarious video of a four-seater teeter-totter in the middle of a bull’s arena. The bull was let loose and the four men on each of the cardinal points of the teeter-totter would lift off the ground as the bull came close to avoid having their legs gored. The video went from hilarious to causing-my-kids-to-ask-what-was-so-funny side-splitting uproarious as the men, one by one, jumped off the contraption and ran, bull in hot pursuit, to the fence to try to escape.

Dutifully, I forwarded the video to some of my online and off-line friends. One friend wrote back. Twice. The first time to ask how incredibly stupid can you get. The second time to point out that there are no women on the ride and went on to say that if men weren’t needed for reproduction that the process of natural selection would have phased them out long ago.

By the way, the friend who said that is male.


Death Be Not Shroud

Sometimes I have no idea what to blog about. Going in search of ideas, I stumbled across a meme question that I instantly knew the answer to.

If you had a crystal ball that could tell you the truth about any one thing you wished to know about yourself, life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

I would want to know my complete genealogy. This is something that I’ve been working on for several years. Some lines I can trace back well past the immigrants and through several countries in Europe, following them from before the French Wars of Religion through their escape to Switzerland or Holland, depending on the line. Some lines I think were dropped out of the sky by aliens in UFOs into the Appalachian highlands during the Great Awakening because I can’t find anything about them anywhere no matter how hard I look.

It reminds me of what Cato the Elder said, “After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.”

But if I knew my complete genealogy, what would I do with my fantasized-about free time? And what excuse would I have for my fondness of graveyards and cemeteries? And what use would I have for knowing the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? Do you know the difference?


Mama Don't Take My Kodachrome Away

It's funny how teenagers bitch and moan about things that their parents sign them up for thinking that the kids will enjoy. There's an art gallery in town which periodically holds teen workshops. Last quarter, the workshop was on working with clay. As part of the workshop, the teens were to view some sculptures, discuss the process, then try their hand at sculpting their own masterpiece. My girls had to miss that one for a family emergency.

Yesterday's teen workshop was on photography. They viewed the latest exhibit of Ansel Adams, Robert Adams, and Alfred Stieglitz. Then they experimented with photography using Polaroid film and a technique of lifting the image off the backing and transferring it to another medium.

Before the workshop, my teens were complaining. "I don't want to." "It's too early in the morning." "It won't be any fun."

After the workshop, they were slow in leaving the building, telling all their new-found friends that they'd keep up with each other online. Both of the teens were all smiles and excitedly talking about the workshop and the fun they had.

Vindicated, yet again!


Why Is the Bourbon Gone?

[Conversation from last night.]

Honey, fix me a drink? If you look in the kitchen, I bought all kinds of condiments to make drinks with – olives, oranges, cherries, limes, lemons…

We’re out of bourbon.

Oh, shit. I didn't know. It wasn't on the grocery list. Well, surprise me. I like anything you fix me.

What about a Gin Fizz?


Gin Ricky?

Umm… Do we have any rum?

Yeah, we’ve got everything except bourbon. Lemme see what I can come up with.

[Sounds of bottles being moved around. Refrigerator door opens and closes. More movement in the kitchen. The sound of ice in a shaker.]

Here. Try this. I chilled the glass beforehand.

[Old-fashioned glass appears on the table with an amber liquid and a half-dollar size thinly sliced piece of lemon rind. The smell of scotch fills the immediate area. The mental drink catalogue knows what it is without sipping it. Glass to lips, the burn softened by the vermouth, feel the throat warm up as the drink goes down.]

Oh, that’s good.

I used the 10-year [-old single malt].

[Some days call for a cocktail. Some days call for two. From the week I had with my volunteer “job”, I may go through that entire fifth before the weekend is over. Good thing Santa brought him two fifths.]


Don't Aye For Me Argentina

Some people may think me an artistic luddite, but I have a major beef with the Broadway-bound revival of "West Side Story". The new staging is directed by librettist Arthur Laurents. It's more authentic in that the Puerto Ricans are played by Latinos and the dialogue and songs between the Puerto Ricans are spoken and sung in Spanish, excepting one.

America! is sung in English and the dialogue leading up to it is spoken in English. But very abruptly at the beginning of Act II, all inter-Puerto Rican dialogue and song is in Spanish. Where's the authenticity of that? If you're going to sing America! in English because everyone knows it and might reject the play flat-out without it, why not Siento Hermosa which people also know (more from being parodied by men since the first staging)?

There's also my concern with the "authenticity" of its being in Spanish. Sure, first-generation immigrants speak their native tongue. But why not see "Fiddler on the Roof" done in Yiddish? Or "Evita" in Spanish? Or "The Lion King" in Swahili? Or "Aida" in Arabic? Or "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" in Latin? Or "Zorba the Greek" in Greek? Or, more recently, Valkyrie (the Tom Cruise movie) in German? If you want to be authentic, let's really be authentic. To hell with whether the audience can understand it or not.

Which leads me to another rub. There are no subtitles in the new staging. When you go to opera, there are subtitles on a scrim. Mr. Laurents thought that subtitles would distract from the play. Did he stop to think that, in our multilingual society, there are people who speak languages other than Spanish who, yes while being able to get the gist of the scene from the acting itself, don't understand the impact of the powerful words written by Laurents in the first place? Not all theatre-goers are middle-age and older folks who know the story well enough to get by on memory. Try introducing the new staging to teenagers who speak Russian, German, and French rather than Spanish. The confrontational scene between Maria and Anita is completely lost on them.

Perhaps I'm being a whiny WASP for whom for years the theatrical universe centered around. Are we now feeling the white-man's burden in all things entertainment? If this is the wave of the future, perhaps my entertainment dollars are better spent in venues that don't feel the need to change the libretto just to appease the fastest growing demographic, most of whom probably won't darken the door of the theatre it lands in.


Folly and the Beav

If you're not a hunter or fisherman, you probably don't spend much time perusing magazines devoted to the same. Some of the advertisements in the magazines can make a woman blush. Towards the back of the magazines you'll find a plethora of male-enhancing devices and supplements as well as the ubiquitous little purple pill. And of course there are some very innocuous ads that only in a male's mind can turn X-rated.

Take, for example, an ad for beaver blankets. The picture shows a woman sitting by a fire reading a book with a fur lap blanket covering her from waist to foot. "Luxurious lap blankets, pillows, and slippers handcrafted of premium northern beaver furs. The perfect Adirondack touch."

My smart-ass of a husband told me about the ad by saying, "A great way to keep your Beav warm." "From one beaver to another." "What a great beaver shot."

Leave it to a man to turn things around to sex.


Raindrops Keep Falling On My Sled

My children are decrying global warming. They blame it on the fact that we haven't had any accumulation of the white stuff. Just this week the temperature hovered right above freezing at a balmy 34ºF. Warm enough that the precipitation is all rain but cold enough to make venturing outside miserable.

But my kids are starting to acclimate to the miserable weather. The other day my middle daughter headed out for the school bus wearing open-toed shoes and only a sweatshirt as her jacket over a short-sleeved top. If she gets pneumonia and it ends up snowing, she'll be stuck inside while everyone else is out enjoying a snow day.


The Gunn Also Rises

At the December meeting of my DAR chapter, we instituted a new tradition by having a three-piece jazz/swing/Big Band-style group preform. They played several songs that I knew and some I didn't know. One of the showcase pieces was introduced just by saying that it was from a '50s television detective show. The detective impressed the leader of the group because he was always very dapper and somehow managed to always come out of every scrape or chase or fight with nary a hair out of place.

Hmm. What could it be? I couldn't figure it out. I recognized the music with the opening beats. But even after the number when the leader confirmed what most of the other ladies already knew, I was left wondering, Who is Peter Gunn?


Cussing Is Cussing No Matter the Language

My eldest child is a whiz at languages. She had four years of French before switching to Art and is in her fifth year of German. At breakfast this morning she realized she needed to hurry to make the school bus.

"Schei..." she exclaimed.

I glared at her. "I don't care if you can cuss in three different languages, don't do it at the table."

"I wasn't. I was saying Schrei which means scream."

"No, you weren't. You were about to say Scheiße."

She laughed, knowing she was caught by a mother who had only one year of German in college. Then she smirked and retorted, "I'm going to learn how to cuss in some other language and you're not going to know which language so you won't be able to look it up to see what I'm saying."

Spurred on to knowledge by showing up her mother. I'll take it.


Do You Freecycle?

Freecycle is a great way of recycling items. If you haven’t heard for Freecycle, check it out here.

It’s amazing some of the things you can get through Freecycle. Over the years, we’ve gotten almost-new Lucky Brand jeans, a slightly used desk chair, a bicycle, snow skis, a cat carrier, bricks, piano music books, and an assortment of other items. Our last haul was a box of women’s clothing and shoes.

As my teenage daughters and I were going through the box and trying on clothes, I was in charge of digging into the bottom of the box. Good thing it was me. Lo and behold, at the very bottom of the box lay a woman’s “little friend”. Your good old basic vibrator.

It’s amazing what you can stumble across when you Freecycle.


Exercise, My Arse

Today is the first Saturday of the new year. As with most people who make resolutions, those promises to ourselves are still fresh enough to be acted on. And acted on they sort of were at my local gym this morning.

The gym has two parking areas, a smaller one that's basically pull-in spaces along one part of the oval drive in front and a larger parking lot to the side of the gym. As I walked the dog past the gym this morning, the smaller parking area was completely full. One row of the spaces in the larger parking lot was full. However, there were cars parked along the curve of the oval in the fire zone when there were perfectly legal spaces just twenty feet away in the parking lot.

Why do people who are going to the gym to exercise park their cars illegally just so they don't have to walk an extra twenty feet?


Stitch 'n' Bitch

Have you noticed that when women get together to knit that we tend to gossip too? Oh, yeah, we do. I guess they're going to revoke my girl card since I'm letting secrets out.


My Day in Pictures

Yes, knitting was one of today's activities. And as you can see from the picture at left, alas, no fire in the fireplace. Not much work was completed on the project, but it's coming along nicely. Don't I look very relaxed in my chair with my needles? That's because I enjoyed what's in the picture to the right earlier in the day.

Unlike the picture, though, sleep was one of today's pleasures. After two very late nights of a Girl Scout sleepover and movie night on the 30th and dinner and a play on New Year's Eve, I really needed a good nap. Don't we all love catching a cat nap every once in a while? Especially when the sun is warming your back as you read a new book.

Ah, heaven in a couple of hours. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to stretch out on the couch, toss a warm fuzzy blanket over me and snuggle up with one of the kittens.

But soon, our obligations flooded in again in the form of an open house at our neighbors' house across the street. Even though we weren't the oldest couple at the party (the kids stayed at home), we appeared that way since our youngest is older than most of the other children in our neighborhood. My husband likes to call me his child bride.

Yep, that's right. A true Southern New Year's dinner, complete with baked ham, black-eyed peas, and collard greens. It's the last celebration of the Christmas holiday but the first celebration of 2009.

My New Year's resolution is to entertain more. If I could, I'd have a party of some sort every month. Maybe I should include tomorrow's gathering. I've invited over a dozen women (and one guy) for a knitting session. Hen Party! Look out!